Bulgaria is a heaven for hunting, photo safari and watching untamed nature
The lockdown of the previous months made it crystal-clear for us how important active connection with nature is for our psychological wellbeing and physical health. While we kept to our homes we suddenly realised that we crave close contact with the wild forest, its clean air and tranquility.
Luckily, Bulgaria is one of the best destinations in Europe where only a couple of hours drive stand between the big city and some location of thick forests and undisturbed contact with wild nature. Regardless of whether your preferred form of active rest among nature are mountain trekking, photo safari or hunting, the Bulgarian mountains provide an opportunity to enjoy it fully.
Bulgaria has been an established hunting tourism destination for years, and rightfully so. The first regulation of hunting and fishing in the country dates back to the 19th century. Conscious efforts for developing hunting tourism started in the 1970s, when new hunting grounds and lodges were established. Special attention was paid to the fauna. Besides care for populations of local species such as red deer, boar and brown bear, extinct species such as mouflon were brought back and new for Bulgaria species such as fallow deer were introduced. Today the active hunting grounds in Bulgaria work extensively on preservation of wild nature in the territories under their control. They also invest in developing a product attractive to modern hunters, photographers and tourists – revamped hunting lodges, opportunities for luxury accommodation, introduction of new species interesting for hunting and photographing, development of special routes and menus of local products.
The Rhodope that is Bulgaria's most extensive mountain is a natural magnet for people who seek close contact with wild nature. The mountain is a mosaic of landscapes: from the high peaks covered in dense fir forests in its western reaches to the soft slopes of the Eastern Rhodope. There, everyone can find a place for their taste.
Deep in the picturesque slopes of the Rhodope near Chepelare there is a place where you will find tranquility, clean nature and contact with valuable and interesting local and imported species. Boar and red deer, fallow deer and mouflon, bezoar ibex and Barbary sheep, and Bulgaria's only population of Himalayan tahr inhabit the territory of Zabardo Hunting Preserve (information, inquiries and reservations: Engineer Svetloslav Krastev, phone: +359 88 855 1413, www.huntzabardo.bg). In Zabardo you will find as well comfortable accommodation, options for recreational fishing and photo safari, delicious local food made of products from the region. In the preserve's environs are sites of interest such as the Wondrous Bridges nature phenomenon, Pamporovo and the mineral springs of Narechenski Bani, and Plovdiv is only 60 km away.
The Strandzha is less known but this is why hunting and photo safaries among its thick oak forests are so exciting the year round. Besides romantic woods and flourishing wildlife, the Strandzha is also a place of picturesque traditional villages, archaeological sites and tranquility.
Kovach Hunting Ground (phone: 056 84 16 60, mobiles: 0898 778 853, 0899 887 774, www.lovendom-kovach.com) offers an excellent opportunity to get in close touch with the nature of the Strandzha and to meet animals and birds such as boar and Eurasian woodcock which are a challenge for even the best of hunters. Located on a bend of the Veleka River, Kovach Hunting Ground has three hunting fields inhabited by roe deer and red deer, jackal and hare, wolf and fox, and a variety of birds such as pheasant, white-fronted goose, rock partridge and others. The Veleka is good for connoisseurs of angling and for guests who prefer digital trophies the hunting ground organises photo safaris. The environs of Kovach are full with ancient sites to explore and the contact with the Strandzha's pristine nature charges with energy for months.
Proper hunting is impossible without proper hunting gear. Luckily, the products available on the Bulgarian market are more than excellent, catering to a variety of tastes, requirements and budgets.
High technologies make hunting more different and exciting. At Aleksis hunting stores (Sofia, 25 Dr Petar Dertliev Blvd, Labyrinth Complex; Veliko Tarnovo, 3 Aleksandar Stamboliyski St, www.aleksis-optics.com) you will find everything you need to achieve that – like thermal and digital sights, various optics brands, sights and night vision devices, and accessories for them. Aleksis also offers a wide range of smoothbore, rifled, and combined weapons, airguns, A-TEC and Stalon silencers, ammunition, Bulat and Zlatoust knives, Harkila clothing and others. The company is the official representative of established manufacturers of highest quality goods that provide comfort in all weather conditions and hours of the day.
Modern technologies allow us also to get closer to wild animals and to watch their behaviour without disturbing them.
Binoculars allow photographers, nature lovers and tourists to get closer to wild animals in their natural environment. Light, ergonomic and with high class optics at a very reasonable price, the binoculars by the English brand Opticron (www.opticron.bg) are a trusted companion to anyone who ventures into nature. When you look for ergonomy and excellent vision even during the most demanding meteorological conditions and types of light, the Imagic BGA VHD model is the best solution. Its Binocular of the Year award is fully deserved. People who want to combine the concepts of quality binoculars and stuffed backpack without compromising with quality will appreciate the Traveller BGA ED model. It weighs just 450 g and has a 30-year warranty.
Armed with ideas for exciting destinations and proper equipment the only thing we need to do is to leave the city and to head to the mountains for a close encounter with wild nature.